Sheboygan Mayoral Recall Election Starts Tuesday

Mayor Bob Ryan will facing seven challengers Sheboygan’s first-ever mayoral recall election

The Sheboygan Press reported that Ryan’s problems with alcohol, including the fallout from a three-day drinking binge in Elkhart Lake last July, played a major part in the recall effort. The primary is set for Tuesday.

Ryan has acknowledged his alcoholism. He said he is working every day to maintain his sobriety and promises voters not to let his “personal issues” ever get in the way of doing his job as mayor.

“The behavior is not acceptable, but I’m not running a campaign based on my shortcomings, I’m running a campaign based on my accomplishments,” Ryan said.

Citizens collected 4,481 valid petition signatures to force the election, citing a need “to preserve the integrity of the mayor’s office.”

The two candidates who win the most votes will advance to a Feb. 21 general election, unless one person wins 50 percent of the vote, plus one.

The winner will serve the remaining year and change left in Ryan’s first term, which ends in April 2013.

Sheboygan City Clerk Sue Richards said it’s difficult to predict how many of Sheboygan’s 29,000 registered voters will cast ballots Tuesday.

“It’s a hard one to call,” Richards said last week. “This is an unusual circumstance. I would think it being it’s the mayor’s race; it would really be a shock to me if it were below 25 percent (turnout).

The estimated cost of the recall election, initially pegged by Richards at around $20,000, will be higher, though she’s not sure how much.

In the 2009 mayoral election, Ryan defeated then state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren, 6,191 to 4,173, in a turnout that was 35 percent.

Van Akkeren is among the candidates in the mayoral recall race. The other candidates are retired financial executive Roberta Filicky-Peneski, restaurant employee Mark Hermann, Harbor Centre Business Improvement District Manager Randy Schwoerer, Alderwoman Jean Kittelson, high school senior Asher Heimermann and musician Erik Neave.